Lengthy sentence is a statement - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Lengthy sentence is a statement

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  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Wider lens necessary for effective education

    Wider lens necessary for effective education

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 10:00:24 GMT
    We say it often, but if West Virginia is going to reach its enormous potential, we will need a dynamic, robust educational system that challenges and prepares our people for the rigors of life in the 21st century.
    We say it often, but if West Virginia is going to reach its enormous potential, we will need a dynamic, robust educational system that challenges and prepares our people for the rigors of life in the 21st century.
  • Can we be realistic on roads?

    Can we be realistic on roads?

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:00 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:00:54 GMT
    Building and maintaining roads should not be a political issue. In fact, it should be pretty straightforward. Potholes need filled, drainage ditches need cleaned, the highways need striped — while it might be painstaking and expensive, the overall concept is pretty simple.
    Building and maintaining roads should not be a political issue. In fact, it should be pretty straightforward. Potholes need filled, drainage ditches need cleaned, the highways need striped — while it might be painstaking and expensive, the overall concept is pretty simple.
  • Looking the other way perpetuates criminal politics

    Looking the other way perpetuates criminal politics

    Friday, July 11 2014 10:46 AM EDT2014-07-11 14:46:55 GMT
    Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for his role in a political scheme that has dominated headlines for nearly a year and shined a bright light on one part of the state’s tangled web of public corruption.
    Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for his role in a political scheme that has dominated headlines for nearly a year and shined a bright light on one part of the state’s tangled web of public corruption.

West Virginia has a storied and sad tradition of political corruption. Our state's history is rife with vote buying, intimidation, rigged elections and politicians who act more like third-world strongmen, not duly elected representatives of the people. 

Thankfully, federal authorities have shown true leadership over the last few years, rooting out these scofflaws and showing them that they will be held accountable. Recently, disgraced former Mingo County Magistrate Dallas "Big Dal" Toler was sentenced to 27 months behind bars after he falsified a voter registration application in 2012. Audible gasps could be heard from Toler's family when the sentence was handed down. 

While we don't mean to marginalize their feelings, Toler did the crime and now he has to do the time. Political observers have said his sentence, which is longer than what is typically handed down for a similar crime, could be a turning point. For the first time in a generation, voters in Mingo County feel like their voices will be heard. 

Let's hope all are put on notice — when you degrade and defile the democratic process, you will face the consequences.